Generations of my family have been proud to have graduated from Moscrop, Central and South schools in Burnaby. Our teachers were (and are) phenomenal and have set my siblings up for successful and exciting careers all over B.C., Canada and the world. I am living in Seattle and in addition to my work, I continue to advocate here for many of the common sense features of our Canadian life that as Canadians we are proud of.
However, I am absolutely appalled with Premier John Horgan, the Minister of Education Jennifer Whiteside, Health Minister Adrian Dix and the provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, and all appointed and elected officials who are refusing to use their power and privilege to save lives in this raging pandemic. The house is already on fire and you’re letting people die. The border was closed to keep Americans out, during Trump’s dastardly reign, and now it’s far more dangerous in Horgan’s B.C.?
How did Horgan let this happen?
It is mortifying to see B.C. in the international news as a COVID-19 hotspot and scientists pleading for the B.C. government to act. There are international travel warnings to my beloved hometown. I am terrified for my family, friends, educators and students that schools are still forced to be in-person. Countless daily school Covid notices all across the Lower Mainland and an entire North Shore school “in self-isolation”.
It also seems against the natural order that I am now fully vaccinated because I live on this side of the border and my parents and aunt have yet to receive their first dose, even as seniors. I’m terrified for my loved ones.
It’s not like the pandemic is new. We’re over a year into this. We know what works: mask mandates, comprehensive mask mandates, no gatherings beyond the bubble, giving notice to small business before lockdowns and limited capacity guidelines for all businesses to ensure small businesses remain supported. Yes, the vaccines are finally rolling out as one critical part of extinguishing this pandemic, but they’re not a panacea. Yes, we have public healthcare, but the doctors and nurses deserve so much better than what they’re being forced to endure from this deadly political malfeasance.
Politicians are supposed to be problem-solvers for the common good. The failure to act and allow these deadly mutant variants to spread is willful negligence. I am particularly appalled by Horgan, who should be for the workers. The young front-line workers who are contracting this virus (and who have already experienced more than their share of economic strife) should not be blamed, they should be protected.
To all the educators: they will keep forcing you into poorly ventilated conditions until there are no teachers or subs left, all while refusing to come into classrooms and understand what you’re going through.
For the sake of our kids, families and this generation of educators, get those actions planned. Run against your union leadership and your elected officials if they fail to act. Our kids are taking the variants home to their families and now the ICUs are full. Internationally, educators are watching with horror and solidarity. Italy closed school buildings again - we know it’s one important step to reduce transmission. Take the steps you need to in order to stay safe, and start now.
To the parents/guardians: start keeping your kids home to help save the lives of your children, your family, beloved educators and doctors. Elected officials obviously don’t care about this virus forever impacting your family or the heart of society.
We all must strive to deliver on the promise of a bright future for all British Columbians. It’s time for social solidarity and leadership. The world is watching.
Shannon McCann, Seattle